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#275 - "Remind Me Who I Am" by Jason Gray
NRT's Kevin Davis chats with Jason for a record seventh time, with this conversation centering around identity.

Look no further than first single and opening track, "Remind Me Who I Am," for a classic example of Jason Gray’s heart and transparent songwriting style. I have played the song non-stop since I first heard it. It is hooky and filled with biblical truth just like Jason's hit song "More Like Falling In Love."

The lyrics, "If I'm Your beloved, can You help me believe it?" keep the theme from "I Am New" going, which is that if we would only run to Christ, He would remind us who we really are.

I had the great opportunity to interview Jason--in person before his Called To Love concert appearance in Lancaster, Penn.--about his current single “Remind Me Who I Am.” This is my seventh “behind the song” devotional featuring a Jason Gray song, which I’m honored to say makes him my most featured artist over the past few years. I’ve previously written about “Blessed Be”, “The Cut”, “For The First Time Again”, “More Like Falling In Love”, “Love Has A Name” and “I Am New.”

Regarding “Remind Me Who I Am,” what's the main message of the song?

For the last few years my journey has circled around the idea of identity--where we find it, and why it matters. The idea I absorbed in my formative years was that I sin because of my willful disobedience. And while that may be true in part, another truth is that most, if not all, of the time I really don’t want to sin, so that I do so seemingly against my own will. Or as the apostle Paul famously said, “I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway…”

So sin begins to look more like addiction than anything else, as though there is a ravenous hunger deep inside of me that demands to be fed. What is that hunger, I wonder? Genesis Chapter 3 tells us that one of the first consequences of sin entering the world is that the ground would be cursed, that we would eat by the sweat of our brow and the soil would produce weeds and thistles. This carries in it the idea of futility: that our efforts are frustrated, that no matter what we do, we feel it’s never enough--that perhaps we are never enough.

The constant, nagging fear that we don’t and never will measure up is like a pebble in our shoe that troubles every step of our journey. Surely this is the curse. We can’t live under the oppression of inadequacy long before we start looking for ways to escape the shame and loneliness of it, and things go from bad to worse as we flee from the curse by running to things we hope will make us feel loved, desirable, and worthy.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Romans 7:17-25 (MSG): "But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."

What’s the take-away message for listeners?

We run to affairs. We surround ourselves with symbols of status that we hope will convince us of our worth. We escape into the fantasy world of pornography where for a moment we can imagine ourselves desired and wanted with no risk of rejection. We flee to workaholism determined to prove our value--our life and vocation shaped by a fear of failing. We hide in the bottle. We turn inward and refuse to risk disappointing those we love by withholding ourselves from them. But of course all of these desperate grabs for significance leave us worse off than we were before--more empty, more ashamed, and with more regret.

If only we could learn to run to Christ, the One who calls us His beloved, His bride, the child that He chose to welcome into His family. We would hear Him tell us that we are enough because He says so. We would hear Him call us His treasure, and we would come alive.

There is that parable where Jesus speaks of the Kingdom of God being like a man who, having found a treasure in a field, sold everything he had in order to buy the field and gain the treasure. I was always taught that I was the man in the story who needed to give up everything in order to “gain” the Kingdom of God. Andrew Peterson pointed out to me years ago that in the other parables surrounding this one, the “man” in the story was always God. What if God cast himself as the man in this parable, too? Is he the one who gave everything he had in Jesus in order to recover us? Could it be that we are God’s treasure? When I’m tempted by sin these days, I can feel beneath it a desire to feel worthy and loved. This desire tells me that I’ve forgotten who I am and need reminding. I’m learning to run to the only one who can tell me, the One who carved my name in the palm of His hand and gave everything he had so I could be His. It is heady and humbling at the same time to be so highly regarded by One so worthy. It makes a difference.

When I lose my way
When I forget my name
Remind me who I am
In the mirror all I see
is who I don’t wanna be
Remind me who I am
In the loneliest places
When I can’t remember what grace is
Tell me once again who I am to You
Who I am to You
Tell me
Lest I forget who I am to You
I belong to You
To You
When my heart is like a stone
and I’m running far from home
Remind me who I am
When I can’t receive Your love
Afraid I’ll never be enough
Remind me who I am
If I’m Your beloved
Can You help me believe it
Tell me once again who I am to You
Who I am to You
Tell me
Lest I forget who I am to You
I belong to You
To You
I’m the one You love
I’m the one You love
That will be enough
I’m the one You love
Tell me once again who I am to You
Who I am to You
Tell me
Lest I forget who I am to You
That I belong to You
Tell me once again who I am to You
Who I am to You
Tell me
Lest I forget who I am to You
That I belong to You
To You
To You

Here’s Asbury’s Bible commentary on Romans 7:17-25: “Paul describes a familiar moral struggle. I delight in God's law and want to do it. But the law (principle, or power) of sin within me prevents me from doing it and compels me to do the evil I do not want. So in desperation I cry out, What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? “This body of death” means the body dominated by death in the sense of verses 10-11, or by “the law of sin and death” (8:2). The deliverance comes through Jesus Christ (verse 25a). maintain that after the deliverance we will still be living in the same way as before. So, in this view, verses 7-25 describe the normal condition of the Christian life. If this were true, why would I be excited about the deliverance? In order to bring the contrast to a sharp focus, Paul summarizes the condition before the deliverance in verse 25b and treats the condition after the deliverance in 8:1-17. After the deliverance through Christ Jesus, I no longer lives in the former condition.”

Jason's fixation on redemption is based on his history as a kid with a chronic stutter. He discovered as he pursued his calling as a singer that his weaknesses are nothing to hide. In fact, because of our weaknesses God's grace and strength are perfectly revealed.

Jason says "I'm actually grateful now that my speech handicap never afforded me the option of masking my weakness behind an illusion of competency. Whenever I opened my mouth, there it was for all to see... I couldn't fool others or myself. I think the best thing that can happen to us is to be 'found out' for all that we are, our religious and human pretenses stripped away to reveal our sin, pettiness, and weakness. Then we can devote our energies to better endeavors than the constant masquerade of sufficiency."

Those comments sum up the theme of Jason's newest release, A Way To See In The Dark, which is the top album by Jason Gray and one of the best albums of the year.

The basic message behind Jason's songs is that "the added benefit is that people are able to see how God's grace works in a real person's life. When we come clean about our brokenness, Christ becomes the star of our testimony and not us."

If you like folk-style pop music, then Jason Gray is for you. I recommend picking up this great album along with Everything Sad Is Coming Untrue and All The Lovely Losers to get the full experience of Jason's music. I've been very blessed to enjoy Jason's songs and get to know his heart for God. I get welled up praying along with several of the songs. I love albums that have a consistent message and theme and that move me emotionally.

As this song so beautifully proclaims, we are Christ’s beloved. We all certainly beat ourselves up and forget that Truth. In Thanksgiving, I sing this song at the top of my lungs and proclaim to God “I belong to You!” Amen to that!

(Check out this song's music video.)

Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ.

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